Country Office Contacts
Main Office Contact:
(221) 33-859-41-00

In Senegal:
Mademba Ndiaye (221)

Bureau de la Banque mondiale
Corniche Ouest X Rue Leon Gontran Damas
Dakar, Senegal

In Washington:
Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira
Country Program Coordinator

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433

This page in:

Senegal Overview

Senegal is located in the western most part of Africa’s Sahel region and has a national territory spanning 196,722 km². The country is divided into 14 regions, 113 municipalities, 370 rural communities, and 14,400 villages. Its population is estimated at 12.8 million and consists of over 20 ethnic groups.

Political Context

Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa, and has considerably strengthened its democratic institutions since its independence in 1960. Senegal has had four presidents: the first, Leopold Sedar Senghor, governed from 1960 to 1980 and handed over power peacefully to Abdou Diouf.  In 2000, Senegal witnessed the first truly contested election which resulted in a victory for Abdoulaye Wade’s Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) and a democratic political transition from the traditional Socialist Party (PS) of Abdou Diouf. 

In the 2012 elections, Macky Sall, former prime minister of Senegal, challenged the incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade and won the run-off election with 65.8% of the vote. The 2012 elections were the first to feature two female candidates, and were characterized by a high degree of transparency and universal acceptance of the results. Although deadly protests preceded the first round of voting, the electoral process was peaceful and resulted in Senegal’s second democratic transition.

Social Context

Poverty remains high and the gross domestic product (GDP) growth remains well below the rates necessary for significant poverty reduction. A continued dependence on remittances to fuel domestic demand and a growing reliance on capital-intensive exports in compensation for faltering labor-intensive sectors results in few new job creation opportunities. The economy has suffered from the global slowdown, commodity price shocks, and instability in neighboring countries; all of which has been exacerbated by a weak domestic reform agenda.

Since 2005, repeated shocks have contributed to reducing per capita income growth to little more than the rate of population growth. The 2011 household survey indicates that poverty has declined by only 1.8 percentage points to 46.7%, which is not significant from a statistical perspective. The Gini coefficient of inequality is estimated at 38; compared to the average of 42 in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Economic Overview

Senegal aspires to be a high middle income country by the next decade but has been stuck in a low-growth equilibrium since 2006. Senegal has not shared the rapid growth experienced by many other sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade. Compared with the average growth rate of 6% for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), growth in Senegal averaged only 4% between 2000 and 2010, and only 3.3% since 2006.

Senegal’s economic performance was expected to improve in 2013, but a poor harvest and low production rates in mining and industry translated to GDP growth just slightly above 3.5% in 2012. GDP growth is projected at 4.6% in 2014, provided that significant investment reforms are implemented.

Medium-term outlook

Over the medium term, Senegal is expected to regain economic momentum. Growth is expected to accelerate to reach at least 5% by 2015; achieving a similar rate of growth seen in 2003-07. Furthermore, Senegalese authorities have high expectations for growth in the coming years predicting rates of 6.7% in 2015 and 8% by 2017.

Development Challenges

Poor governance has slowed progress in poverty reduction. With 47.6% of its population living in poverty, and 15% of that percentage living in extreme poverty; there has been no significant reduction in poverty between 2006 and 2011. Senegal's Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.459, slightly lower than sub-Saharan Africa’s average of 0.463 in 2012.

Furthermore, the private sector has been unable to stimulate the economy due to a weak investment climate, declining competitiveness, weak governance systems, and poor implementation follow up. In addition, natural disasters such as droughts and flooding have slowed growth and increased the vulnerability of the entire economy.

To exit the low equilibrium growth trap, the new government has developed an ambitious program to tackle these challenges. Addressing governance issues in a comprehensive manner will be critical for medium to long term growth. The Emerging Senegal Plan intends to reverse this downward trend by increasing the productivity of Senegal’s economy in the public and private sectors, both of which are underperforming compared to the past and to its peers. 

Last Updated: Apr 02, 2014

World Bank Group Engagement in Senegal

A new International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) joint Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the period of FY2013-2017 was discussed by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on February 19, 2013. The new CPS is fully aligned with the new Government’s strategy and priorities. Under the new CPS, the World Bank Group’s support will be anchored on one foundation: building resilience through a strengthened governance framework that aims to accelerate inclusive growth and employment, and improve service delivery.

The current Bank portfolio under supervision has a total of fourteen national IDA operations, three regional IDA operations, and eight trust fund operations. The total commitment for all active projects is $1.3 billion. The largest shares of the portfolio are dedicated to agriculture (26%), education/health/social protection (23%), followed by energy/mining (18%), and transportation (10%).

International Finance Corporation (IFC):

The IFC's current committed portfolio in Senegal, as of February 2014, is $67.7 million. In order to further promote private sector development as part of the new CPS agenda, the IFC seeks to: (i) increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SME) and microenterprise through financial intermediaries and the provision of investment and advisory services; (ii) support the private provision of infrastructure with a focus on power and transportation; (iii) support the agribusiness value chain directly and through financial intermediaries, and (iv) help the government of Senegal to regain the momentum it has built up in the past in terms of improving the business environment.

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):

The MIGA has supported both inward and outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in favor of Senegal over the years. Given the ongoing global credit crisis, the availability of political risk insurance is critical to the ability of project sponsors to raise project financing for investments in emerging market countries such as Senegal. As of February 2014, the MIGA’s gross exposure in Senegal was $146.3 million.

Last Updated: Apr 02, 2014

The World Bank’s long term engagement in Senegal’s water and sanitation sector has yielded significant results.

The World Bank has supported Senegal for nearly two decades in the water and sanitation sector through three successive projects: the Water Sector Project (PSE), the Long Term Water Sector Project (PELT), and the on-going Water and Sanitation Millennium Project (PEPAM). A follow-up operation is planned under the new Country Partnership Strategy.

The World Bank’s intervention to-date has yielded the following results:

  • A successful urban water reform, based on a strong PPP, has enabled people living in towns to have universal access to water at a nearly 100% access rate, mainly through private connections.
  • Senegal is one of the few countries in sub-Saharan Africa possessing significant sanitation infrastructures (collective sewage, waste water and sludge treatment plants) and a dedicated national body in charge of developing and operating the infrastructures.
  • More recent World Bank intervention in the rural sector has contributed to reaching a water access rate of 81.2%, in rural areas. Senegal will exceed the Millennium Development target of 82%.

The Bank is continuing its involvement in sector reforms through the ongoing Water and Sanitation Millennium Project, and a new project is under preparation.

Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Highway

The Dakar-Diamniadio Toll Road, the first of its kind in the region, has reduced travel times between downtown Dakar and Diamniadio from about 90 to 30 minutes along with the cost of such congestion to the Senegalese economy, which is estimated at 4.6% of Senegal’s GDP. As the project progresses, it will also improve access to existing and planned major infrastructure projects concerning Dakar’s harbor, the regional transportation of goods, a proposed special economic zone, Dakar’s new airport, and a new conference center.

The project has leveraged about $122 million from the private sector through SENAC S.A., a project company established to build, equip for tolling, operate and maintain this 24 km-long Toll Road on a 30-year Build and Operate (BOT) concession. Thanks to the upgrades made in Pikine Irrégulier Sud, the project will also improve the living conditions of about 200,000 people as it provides better urban roads, community facilities, and drainage mechanisms to prevent flooding, a critical problem in Dakar’s suburbs.

Education Sector Projects

The World Bank is a strong supporter of the Senegalese education system. The current World Bank support to the sector consists of a global amount of $251 million, in addition to a project of $35 million which is under preparation.

Since 2000, Senegal’s education sector has made significant progress in terms of access. The Growth Enrollment Rate (GER) at the primary level, which was 81% in 2005, has increased to 94% in 2013. The secondary level enrollment rate is expanding as well, reflecting the growth in the size of incoming cohorts.  In 2011, youth between the ages of 15 to 19 were twice as likely to have attended middle school as youth of the same age five years earlier. Inequity in school enrollment has also been reduced at the primary level. With an efficient policy and expenditure drive over the past few years, the GER for girls now exceeds that of boys. Senegal has also been successful in improving the learning environment by reducing class size and achieving a pupil to teacher ratio of 37, which is one of the lowest in the region. Meanwhile, the supply of tertiary education has diversified with an expanding private sector and the creation of public regional university centers in four provincial cities (Thies, Bambey, Kaolack and Ziguinchor), in addition to the universities of Dakar and Saint Louis which already existed. A major development program is under preparation to support technical and vocational training to stimulate competitiveness and job creation.  

Last Updated: Apr 02, 2014

Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal. Considerable progress has been made in recent years in order to streamline development assistance in Senegal, as consistent with the principles articulated in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda. In early 2008, donors adopted a Memorandum of Understanding for the Framework Agreement on Budget Support (Accord Cadre pour les Appuis Budgétaires-ACAB), which included the European Union, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank. 

Last Updated: Apr 02, 2014


Senegal: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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